The European Journal of Comparative Economics

ISSN: 1824-2979

EJCE Year: 2014, June. Volume: 11 - Issue: 1

When is ordinary law-making tolerated?

by Enrico Colombatto

Start page: 79 - End page: 92

Keywords: Legitimacy; tolerance; justice; institutions

Jel code: A12; A13; A14; B52; D02



Institutions matter: they affect individual action, influence cooperation, and are crucial in making the difference between wealth and poverty, growth and stagnation. Yet, the explanatory power of modern institutional theorizing has not been exceedingly satisfactory. In contrast with the mainstream perspective, this paper suggests a theory of institutional dynamics based on the notions of justice, liberty, and tolerance. In particular, we put forward a stylized model of society, within which individuals are characterized by their ideological traits. We discuss under which conditions tensions emerge, and when demand for institutional change builds up. We conclude that today's democracies are inherently stable, and that this stability is explained by the socialist notion of liberty that characterizes the vast majority of the population of a typical modern society.

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